Andrew Fountain - Stories of God who Knows Everything


Full sermon notes - Stories of God who knows everything


Image source: The Guardian

  • A few weeks ago people were shocked by the revelation of a US government program called Prism, run by the National Security Agency to intercept vast amounts of private telephone calls, facebook posts and email.
    • In the UK, there are 1.85 million video cameras recording every road and public space
    • The governments say “If you’re not doing anything wrong, what have you got to hide?”
    • Is that true? Why should we worry?
    • What if the government is overtly evil
  • God reveals himself as someone who knows everything
    • An early story

Genesis 3

  1. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
  • cannot hide from God
  • it turned out he knew exactly what had happened
  • And then a few chapters later we have a story that tells of God’s exact knowledge of the future as well:
    • Abraham was old and had no children


  1. …a son who comes from your own body will be your heir.”
  2. The LORD took him outside and said, “Gaze into the sky and count the stars — if you are able to count them!” Then he said to him, “So will your descendants be.”…
  3. Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign country. They will be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years.
  4. But I will execute judgment on the nation that they will serve. Afterward they will come out with many possessions.
  5. But as for you, you will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age.
  6. In the fourth generation your descendants will return here…”
  • All this happened exactly
  • Sometimes God seems to need knowledge:
    • Test Abraham’s faith —why?
    • Not to find out, but to provide an opportunity to do something amazing
  • Why Sodom question?

Genesis 18

  1. So the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so blatant
  2. that I must go down and see if they are as wicked as the outcry suggests. If not, I want to know.”
  • Again, it was to give them an opportunity to prove they are wrong
    • But if God knew what they would do?
    • Even thought God knew, they still had a real choice
  • God’s knowledge of the future does not mean you don’t have a choice
    • Does God know what you are going to eat tomorrow, or talk to after the meeting?
    • Does that mean you are not free to choose?
    • There is a tension—we can’t resolve it
  • We have a free choice, but afterwards we will discover that we did exactly what God knew we would
  • Story of

Open Theism

  • Woman called Suzanne with a life-long desire to be a missionary to Taiwan.
  • Prayed for a godly husband and felt God was guiding her
  • He turned out to be adulterous and abusive and divorced her
  • She asked her pastor, Greg Boyd, who said:
  • “God did his best and is as upset as you are that he gave you bad advice”
  • One of the largest networks of churches in Toronto has this teaching!
  • How would you answer her?
  • The story of Joseph
    • dreams
    • obey father & visit brothers
    • work hard as a servant
    • prison
    • 2 dreams
    • elevation
    • Saviour
  • Did God make a mistake chosing Saul to be king?
    • It certainly looked like it in the short term
    • the LORD “regretted” that he had made Saul king over Israel. (1 Sam 15:35)
    • Poor translation, “grieved” would be much better—we may have to do something that is “tough love” and it’s hard to do, but we don’t regret it.
    • It was a stepping stone on the pathway to David
    • Ultimately is was the best route


  • justice (last week trial was reported where it turned out a policeman had lied and the man was found innocent
    • Ironically it was the security video camera evidence that completely turned the case
  • A trial with corrupt evidence is a terrifying thing if you are innocent
    • One of my childhood memories is throwing frisbee and it hitting my brother
    • They couldn’t read my mind
  • But if you are guilty, then the last thing you want is for every tiny detail to come to light
  • God’s judgement will be terrifying for those whose sins have not been washed clean by Jesus

Why it’s a good thing that God knows everything

  • Have you ever heard it reported “He was found guilty and asked for 15 other robberies to be taken into consideration.”
    • I used to be confused by that
    • But if he got them included in this sentence, he couldn’t be tried for them again
    • But what if he forgot something?
  • When you ask God for forgiveness—what if you forget something?
    • Some religions where people have to “confess their sins” to a priest, they can be terrified they have forgotten something.
  • God knows everything
    • If he has forgiven you, then every sins from the biggest to the smallest is forgiven.
  • He knows you intimately
    • The number of hairs on your head (right now...)
    • Every part of the inner workings of your body
    • Not just your conscious thoughts, but your subconscious, your buried memories, your past hurts
  • God does not say: Andrew, I had such high hopes for you, but you have turned out to be such a disappointment!

God’s knowledge and love

  • knowledge + no love = terrifying
  • no knowledge + love = ineffective
  • knowledge + love = the most comforting thing

Have you ever known someone who loves you dearly, but doesn’t understand you at all?

  • They keep trying to help, but not what you need
  • What if God were like that?
  • Do not be afraid! —how can you say this unless you know
    • most fear is from uncertainty. That is the hardest thing to deal with.

Psalm 139

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

  1. O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
  2. You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
          you discern my thoughts from afar.
  3. You search out my path and my lying down
          and are acquainted with all my ways.
  4. Even before a word is on my tongue,
          behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
  5. You hem me in, behind and before,
          and lay your hand upon me.
  6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
          it is high; I cannot attain it.
  7. Where shall I go from your Spirit?
          Or where shall I flee from your presence?
  8. If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
          If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
  9. If I take the wings of the morning
          and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
  10. even there your hand shall lead me,
          and your right hand shall hold me.
  11. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
          and the light about me be night,”
  12. even the darkness is not dark to you;
          the night is bright as the day,
          for darkness is as light with you.
  13. For you formed my inward parts;
          you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
  14. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
          Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
  15. My frame was not hidden from you,
          when I was being made in secret,
          intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
  16. Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
          in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
          when as yet there was none of them.
  17. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
          How vast is the sum of them!
  18. If I would count them,
          they are more than the sand.
    I awake,
          and I am still with you.
  19. Search me, O God, and know my heart!
          Try me and know my thoughts!
  20. And see if there be any grievous way in me,
          and lead me in the way everlasting!

Version: ESV

  • David is not boasting, but inviting God to examine him
    • He knows there will be failings, but he trusts God to examine him
    • It’s not a “self-improvement program”, it’s about yeilding ourselves to God and asking him to come in and change us.

Matthew 6

  1. When you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard.
  2. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
  • Have you ever been on a journey with someone and half way there you say
    • Do you know the way?
    • No, I thougth you knew the way!
  • When I was a teenager, our church would sometimes organize a walk for us all to go on
    • The guy who organized the walk was well known for getting confused about where we were, half way round, and having to get the maps out.
    • Is that the kind of leader who inspires you to follow them?

Jesus said:

  • I am the way, the truth and the life [John 14:6]
  • the way —He is the leader who knows the way
  • the truth —perfect knowledge of everthing
  • the life —He is the creator of new life, and he gives it freely to those who follow him
  • This week, live in the light of a God who knows everything about you
  • I challenge you live your life consciously open before him, as David did:
    • Search me, O God, and know my heart!
            Try me and know my thoughts!
    • And see if there be any grievous way in me,
            and lead me in the way everlasting!

Updated on 2013-06-25 by Andrew Fountain